How to Budget Your Moving Expenses

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Making a Moving Budget

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As there are so many expenses involved in the moving process, it might be easier to just stay put. Of course, this isn't always an option. While there are several ways to make your move somewhat less costly, the price of moving may never be cheap.

But as long as you know how much you need to spend and what you can afford well in advance, you won't be shocked with the final tally of your moving expenses.

The best way to go about budgeting your move is to create a spreadsheet listing all of your expected moving costs, or you can find a template to use. This way, you can record and keep track of everything you will spend money on. Your spreadsheet can also be easily updated and changed as needed. Just make sure you print a couple copies before you pack up your computer.

Expenses prior to moving

The first step in creating a moving budget is to figure out how much you will be spending as you leave your old home. Some of the costs to consider are:
  • Final utility bills
  • Any repairs you have to make to your old home
  • Possible lease termination fees
  • Any other costs associated with leaving your old home
You should then find out how much it will cost to actually move your belongings. It is recommended that you get estimates from at least three moving companies. Until you decide which company you will use, include the highest estimate you are given in your budget.

TIP: The cost of using a moving company includes more than just the estimate. You should also factor in costs for insurance and, if desired, a tip for your movers.

If you are moving a shorter distance and don't mind driving a large vehicle, you may want to transport your items yourself. Renting a van, though cheaper than using a moving truck, comes with its own share of extra costs. For instance, you will have to pay for fuel, and you might need to rent other tools, such as a loading ramp or a handcart.

Whether you hire a moving truck or rent a cargo van, you will need to buy all of the appropriate packing supplies. Although moving supplies may be one of the least expensive costs of your move, especially if you can get some second-hand boxes or other supplies for free, they still should be included in your budget. To avoid having to get each packing supply separately, you can easily find preassembled moving kits. Aside from saving you the trouble of entering each item on your spreadsheet, simply include the cost of the moving kit.

Expenses during the move

Once you know how much you will be spending on the packing and shipping of your items, you can figure out the costs of getting yourself to your new home. Factor in how much you will allocate toward gas, food, and hotels during your drive.

The AAA has a convenient gas calculator, which can help you figure out your budget for the trip. If you are flying to your new home, record the cost of plane tickets in your budget. You should also factor in the price of extra baggage fees, if necessary, as well as associated transportation costs, like taxi service to and from the airport.

If you need to have your car shipped to your new home, this will be another high-cost expenditure. Just like picking your mover, you should contact several auto shipping companies and get estimates before hiring one. You also might need to use a storage facility as you transfer your goods from place to place. If using a storage facility, be sure to include the costs in your budget.

TIP: If you plan on shipping your car, you may have to spend money to ensure it meets the standards for shipping. This can include getting your car inspected, bringing it in for a tune-up, and making any necessary repairs.

Expenses after the move

The next section of your budget should consist of the costs you will face upon moving into your new home. This will include such things as:
  • Rent
  • Security deposits
  • Mortgage payments
  • Prices for starting the various utility services
  • Any other services you need to pay for, like parking permits or pet fees for apartments
Though this next suggestion might not be the first thing to come to mind when planning a moving budget, it is important nonetheless. As you probably won't want to go grocery shopping or cook on your move-in day, add in the price of take-out food.

Furthermore, it is a good idea to buy food and drinks to serve to anyone helping you move in, professional movers included. You should also include the cost of groceries after you move in. The first shopping trip after you move can be more expensive than usual, since you will like have to repurchase all of the staples.

Once all of these costs are added to your spreadsheet, add everything up. Unfortunately, your budget isn't yet finalized. The next thing you want to do is add an additional 5-10% of the final cost to your tally. This extra amount will cover any unexpected fees that you may encounter during the move.

If this final amount ends up being more than what you can afford, then you can just review your budget and find areas to cut corners. As long as you prepare your moving budget beforehand, you can easily see where your money will go and adjust accordingly.
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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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